How to take care of yourself and your relationship when your partner suffers from Stress

Stress, mental health issues and depression are part of modern life. And there is a lot of help out there for people who have to live with these conditions. But what about the other people who live with them, whose lives are affected everyday by the stress of having a partner with a diagnosis, stress and depression. If you are in,or have ever been in a relationship with someone who suffers from a diagnosis you will know how hard this can be. There is not only the pressure of supporting your partner emotional, often all the nuts and bolts of life, normally shared between two people are weighing on your shoulders. In affect you become the primary adult in the relationship. The strain of being in a relationship with a partner affected by stress or another mental health issue is enormous. You are under constant pressure, rarely get time to recharge your own energy and burnout looms regularly on the horizon. Added to which your relationship suffers as un intentionally your partner’s condition takes your energy and wears you down.

Yet despite all of this pressure, the mental, and sometimes physical draining lifestyle,you stay in this relationship. You of course love your other half. You hate to see them suffer and want nothing more than to make it all better for them. It’s natural. However in order to be there for them, you need to be there for you. Very often the non diagnosed partner is the axis upon which your life spins. The rock and foundation. So if you are this person you need  more than most of us to take care of yourself.

In my life I have had one partner who, despite being the sweetest most wonderful person on the planet had three mental health diagnoses which often gave him stress and depression. I knew this when entering the relationship and I was willing to support him. And I did. I took on the household, our calendars. I organised, supported, cared for, helped and guided. In essence my partner entered into a unhealthy co-dependant relationship. Eventually (and inevitably) I hit burn out. My patience became non existent. My energy was lower than it had ever been.  This manifested in resentment , frustration and our relationship began to deteriorate. At first I hit the blame cycle and blamed his diagnoses, his stress in general him. However luckily I took a step back an realised it wasn’t his fault it was mine. I had lost me in his problems. Forgotten to take care of me, to prioritise myself, my needs and my own health. He hadn’t entered into a co dependant relationship alone. I had encouraged him, created it. It was a wake up call and a half. And led me to learn a manual of self care that saved the relationship.

If you have a partner who has mental health issues and you feel as though you are drowning in responsibility then here are the steps I took to recharge myself and our relationship.  

Don’t blame

It is easy to point the finger of blame when we feel hurt, let down or rejected by our partner. However it’s not your partner’s fault he hasn’t got the energy to go to your friends wedding with you. It’s not your fault that you haven’t been having sex lately. It is a by product of your partner’s condition. Most people who are suffering with mental illness would give anything to be normal and love and care for their partners, 100%. Unfortunately they can’t. Living with mental illness takes a lot of energy. On the good days your partner will be able to be caring and loving. On a bad day they won’t. It’s not personal. They still love you they just don’t have the energy to show it. Blaming them or yourself just starts a negative spiral which is hard to get out of and will waste your own personal energy reserves.

Structure and share

Daily life can seem overwhelming when living with a mental health problem. One of the ways to make both of your lives easier is to get into a routine. Make a week plan each week and follow it. Try and make life as easy as possible for you both. Go shopping once a week. Wash your clothes on the same day. Walk the dog at the same time. Even having a fixed date night time once a week will help as your partner will know they have to save energy for you.

Don’t expect your partner to be able to do and give the same energy as you can (this is just going to lead to disappointment).At the same time your partner will want to help and be giving in the relationship too. Share the chores and responsibility areas based on what your partner can do. This is also a great way for you both to see and appreciate what it is you both do for you as a couple.

Get support

You both need it. If you are your partners only form of support you are going to burn out fast. Your partner needs someone else there for them. At the same time so do you. Typically in life when we have issues it is our partner that we turn. However if our partner has a mental health issue they might not be able to cope with hearing about your problems let alone support them. Explain to friends and family the situation at home and contact them when you need to talk or get help. If you know you have extra pressure at work one week ask people to help you look after the kids or the house. It’s ok to ask and receive help. You do not have to be superman/woman 24/7. It may also be wise to get some professional help for yourself as support for when the going gets rough or simply just to keep an eye out on potential burn out.

Get breaks

When your partner gets flu you become the caretaker. Mental illness is just the same. You need to take breaks. To do things for yourself. Go to a spa, to the gym, to a cafe or even have a weekend away from home. Wherever you can relax and however you relax make it important to do it. I found that one night off a week at home was something I really needed so I made sure my partner visited family once a week. It got him out and gave me my much needed downtime.

Take Care of the basics

Take care of yourself on a basic level. Sleep well, eat well, keep up your personal hygiene. Remember to dress up once in a while. Sometimes, in the harder periods it can be difficult to eat so graze (healthily) instead. You need to take care of the machine in order to be the strong rock you and your family need.

Remember you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness

Even though you want to do as much as you can to help your spouse, you need to remember that neither their condition (nor their recovery) depends on you. You cannot fix your partner. What you can do is encourage them in positive directions and coping mechanisms. Whatever they need, you can encourage them in that direction.

Remind yourself why you love your partner

Sometimes the condition can take over and you feel as though the person you love is gone forever. They are still there. Sometimes you just have to work harder to see it. Make a list of all the the things you love about your partner. Just giving yourself a moment to step back and really see the person you love will give you a boost of energy.

Remind your partner that you love them

It can be hard for your partner to see and recognise everything you do for them. A mental health issue can make you blind to what is really there. At the same time your partner may hate themselves for being the way they are. Remember to tell them that you love them on a daily basis, it helps.

Communicate Clearly

Communication is important in any relationship but even more so in a relationship with diagnosis. Don’t assume anything ask. Ask your partner what they need, what they mean. Communicate what you need from them. Don’t be ambiguous be direct and concrete in your communication.

Live your life

When your partner is struggling it may feel unfair to enjoy your life outside your relationship. But it is important for you. You need to laugh, to do the things you love and spend time with the people you care about. Your entire life cannot an should not be ran in accordance with another persons needs. Remember also to make time with your partner aimed at what they can cope with. Live your life with them and away from them

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It is not easy to be with a person who has a short or long term mental illness. However when you take care of yourself, encourage them to get the help they need and your relationship will become stronger. You are both on the same team. By taking care of you, you will create the mental and emotional resources that will take care of your relationship and builds a secure base you can both count on.

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#lifelessons101 – Doing only what you can do – 4 steps to realistic prioritising at Christmas

Christmas is coming. The goose is getting fat. The clock is ticking and the kids drive me mad- should be the Christmas rhyme for many of my clients at this time of year. As the Christmas holidays draw near, no matter who you are, or what you are doing there is an area of nervous tension which can, when not kept in check boil over and cause a mental meltdown.  Christmas for adults today, like any other major holiday we spend with family,  is unfortunately synonymous with pressure. We push ourselves before holidays more than at any other time of the year. Probably because we have the accountability of fixed dates. I mean santa is going round the world on the 24th December whether you are ready or not. And when we are under this amount of pressure we go onto turbo boost mode. Unfortunately that means although we get everything done we do it in a way that is bad for us. We prioritise gift paper over mental health, decorations over our wellness and the much needed self care is way down at the bottom of the todo list. No wonder people tend to crash or get ill over the holidays.

However it doesn’t have to be this way.  If you, like many of my clients, are feeling overloaded, worn down by juggling too many balls in the air at once, you need to find a way to get everything done without going insane or burning out then I have a system for you. It’s easy, you can use it at once and it will not only focus you and make you more efficient, it will also be a daily reminder to take care of yourself. I call it the 4 steps to realistic prioritising. To be honest I would highly recommend using this all year round however if you feel like right now all you balls are in the air and you don’t know how you will ever catch them this could be the holiday solution for you.  

Step 1 – Check in with yourself

You are the most important factor in getting things done. If you are not ok you can’t function at your best, which means your tasks will not be done well. Or at least they will be more difficult for you to do.  You need to Re:Root with yourself and know how you are feeling before you can start to think about what you need to do.

Every day after the first 30 mins awake you need to touch base with yourself. To check in mentally or physically with you body and say okay where am I today. A 5 minute body scan is a great way to do this. Bring your awareness into your body. Ask yourself how am I feeling today?

(Here is my favourite 5 minute body scan on youtube)

Step 2 – Define your energy level

Now it’s all well and good saying check in with yourself and see where you energy is at however anyone who knows me well will tell you for me that is too fluffy. I like quantifiable and practical solutions. So in this system we define our energy level on a numerical system between 1 – 10.

1 is so little energy you cannot move out of bed or open your eyes. 10 is basically you being Tigger. Ask yourself what number will I give my energy today? If you are on a 10 then you know you can probably get loads done on a 3 or a 4 maybe you can do 3 things. If you start to check in with yourself using this 1-10 you will quickly begin to get a sense of what you can achieve at which number energy level you are on. I have for an example a client who can do 1 easy household task on days where she is 1-3 1 major task and a household task on 4- 5 and so it goes up. I have another who has 3 goals on 1 days and 8 goals on 7 days. This is really defined by you. The more you do this the more realistic you will become about how you can use the energy you have.

Step 3: Write your to do list

It’s simple write down everything you feel you need to do that day. If we put things on paper it’s less for our brain to remember. So write the list out. Don’t worry if it’s very long we’ll deal with that in step 4.

Step 4 : ABCDF

I first read about the ABCDE method in Brian Tracy’s best seller Eat that Frog. ABCDF is my own personal interpretation of this system and it works well for my clients.  Go through your to do list and classify each task with a letter as follows.

A= Got to do today

B= Can be done tomorrow

C= Can be done next week

D= Delegate (you don’t have to do everything share the load)

F= F**K it off! (You really don’t need to do this right now or this month so put it on the back burner)

Now the important thing here is to make sure that A tasks are both things you have to do AND things that involve self care. On a 1- 4 energy day you really need to do more self care activities because this will help you recharge your batteries for tomorrow.

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Theodore Roosevelt said  “ Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”, you cannot do more than that in life. This system will simply help you check in with yourself and be realistic about what you can and can’t do whilst not overstretching your mental energy. Part of this does mean that you will have to drop some of the things you want to do before the Christmas holidays.  However the benefit of doing this is that you will have a better more relaxing run up to the holidays giving you more energy to enjoy them and get the rest you so richly deserve.  

Have a great weekend and take care of yourself <3

All will be peacefulAll will be bright

Why am I snapping all the time?

So after returning from my last two weeks of holiday instead of feeling rested and relaxed I am grumpy as heck and snapping at everything. Some of this is definitely to do with the fact I haven’t had a proper break since we got home. The day after our return I hit the ground running and within 7 days I had had an exam, been the priestess for a wedding, finished all the holiday washing and unpacking and we got a new kitten. On top of this my computer stopped working and today I forgot to take my insulin with me out of the house so my blood sugars have been running dangerously high.

And I can’t stop snapping at Mr T. Now to be fair he is also exhausted, so not the most congenial of company right now. However it’s got to the stage that I am really getting annoyed by my own irritable nature so it’s time to find out why I am snapping all the time. As always I turn to my google guru to see if there is any wise sage on the interwebs to help me on my quest. Turns out not so much, lot’s of medical advice but no tools out there to help me work this out. So back to square one. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

I could have gotten very annoyed about this, easily. However years of personal development have kicked in and reminded me when I can’t see the answer it’s time to get some objectivity. Hence this post. And truly as I write my heart out to you all here the answers become clearer. All of a sudden I can see how to answer my question and do something about it. It feels so much better. So if you have been overly grumpy lately, join me as I shift from my victim stance to my place of power and follow these 5 part checklist  to figure out why the heck we are snapping all the time.?

Check the bodily functions

Have you been sleeping enough? Drinking enough water? Eating good foods? If the answer to all of these is no then there is the bottom of your snappy problem. Without the right fuel and maintenance our bodies function badly and we get grumpy. Book some sleep time, grab a smoothie, so fruit or a good salad and fill the fridge with so water bottles.

Check your calendar

What have you been doing over the last few weeks? When I look at my calendar it is obvious that i have been running on burn out for about 10 days. If like me you have alot of things that need to be done in the next 10 days, prioritise, delegate and simplify. If it doesn’t need to be done then don’t do it now when you are burn out. Plan breaks and sleep time. Even if you need to get your Mum to take the kids out for an afternoon so you can sleep, do it. Your kids will be much happier if you are rested. (And ladies don’t forget to check in your cycle, p-pill or not the hormones do rule the roost for most of us).

When did you last get cuddled?

Seriously when did you actually cuddle for over five minutes. Feeling loved makes us feel good and secure. When we are worn down that is exactly what we need to feel. We need to feel cosy and loved and safe. So find a friend, partner or even a parent or pet to cuddle with you for a bit. If you do not have any of the above then wrap yourself in duvets in a homemade pillow fort with an old cuddly toy (I know you have one. We all do).

When did you last get your blood rate pumping?

Al be it training, dancing to music or even sex, when did you last get the blood moving around your body? I am really bad at this one. Crank up the stero, visit the gym or the swimming pool, take the dog out for a walk or plan a night in with your partner! If you can get out in nature, do it (and no I am not advocating shagging in the wilderness, unless of course that is your thing, just stay legal). Seriously nature is one of the best healers and it’s free so go and connect.

When did you last laugh out loud?

Humor is a life saver. It makes everything feel better when you have had a good laugh. Watch your favourite films, check out the imugr collection of memes. Exercise your cheek muscles and howl until you can no more. If nothing else this will lift your mood quicker than all the other parts of the checklist above. (personally I love Miranda Hart, Robin Williams or even Betty Davis for a quick belly jiggling pick me up giggle).

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Snapping is a really obvious sign that all is not well with us. And yes there is alot to it, often stress and unhappiness or security in your life. However if you ask yourself the five questions on my check list and make rebalancing these parts of your life you will find that you have more energy and capability to deal with the stickier parts of your life

Have a great week!

When the world is too irritating

 

#lifelessons101 – Why people are draining you and how to stop it happening (3 min read)

 

It’s friday night, there is glorious sunshine out of my window, the wind is blowing and the garden is calling yet tonight I am simply too shattered to go out and play. I am tired. Not just physically but mentally. I am people tired.

As a life coach, and also in my private life, I work with people everyday and I love that. I love helping and giving help to self help, I love to help people grow and I love learning from the people I help and getting the opportunity to grow myself.  However sometimes I get exhausted by it. Sometimes I just get tired of people and I also get people tired. I know those sound similar they are not, bear with me I will explain. Getting tired of people is where you simply get fed of human interaction games until it exhausts. Getting people tired is where you feel drained by other people through helping too much.

The challenge is that getting tired of people and people tired is not something we usually talk about it polite society. Certainly not in inclusive Scandinavia where doing everything together is the way life is. YET we all have times where we feel like this. AND the teaching of being tired of people or of being people tired is actually a really important message for us if we choose to listen instead of being into the drama that people are just blooming annoying /stupid/insert adjective of choice, and why won’t they sort blah blah out, and why do they leave it to you and blah, blah, blah.

We just need to look for the teachings. And when you do you will find that the teachings of being tired of people and people tired are different ,yet also both have an initial underlying message. The underlying message is simple. It is that something is not right for you in the relationships you have and the interactions you having with other people. Both of these feelings are your spirits way of say “HELLO. Something ain’t in balance. Take notice!”

And the way to take notice (or the what to do about it) is defined by the individual teachings of being tired of people and people tired. I have noticed a few and these are below with a few suggestions for healing solutions. Maybe you have noticed other teachings if you have please share them in the comments below then we can all support each others learning journey.

Being tired of people:

Everyone you met is annoying and usually in the same way. I have found this can mean two thingsTEACHING: You are surrounding yourself with the wrong type of people. Your body, well more accurately your soul, is crying out to say I need to grow in a different way, these people don’t support that growth, find me people that support the growth I need.

HEALING SOLUTION: Soul search, identify what you need and call in the right people. You don’t need to cut other people off, just set the intention the the right people will turn up and distance yourself discreetly from the people that are reflecting attitudes or growth that you don’t need. If you can figure out what exactly it is that is bugging you about the people in your life it will give you a pretty clear idea of the change and growth you need .

TEACHING: The people in our lives mirror us. Which means the people bugging you are reflecting something about you, a habit that you have that you dislike and need to face in order to feel complete.

HEALING SOLUTION: Find out what it is and work with it. You can if you want to get to know the person that is bugging you, this does often give you deeper understanding of why they are the way they are and why you are the way you are. If you really dare (and I do know this is tough I have dared and also chosen not to) tell them you that they are bugging you because of X, Y and Z and that you realise this is something about your personality you dislike and that you wish to work with and begin a healing dialogue with them.

Being people tired.

People tired can be defined as never having time for yourself and yet help everyone else. I do this ALOT.

TEACHING: You are giving more than you can give you need to save energy for you and your life too.

HEALING SOLUTION:  Check in with yourself and set boundaries. Count to ten before saying yes or offering help make sure you have the resources for everything you need to do before trying to fix someone else’s life. After all if you are broken it won’t help them will it. If you feel bad you can always suggest a solution that doesn’t involve you and you find that you have helped.

TEACHING: You are putting off dealing with something in your own life by fixing someone else. after we all know how easy it is to fix everyone else’s lives rather than our own.

HEALING SOLUTION: Stop. Check in with you. What is it you have been putting off by helping everyone else? Do it. Eat that frog (not a real one, a metaphorical one …honestly! She says shaking her head.) Do thing thing you don’t want to do for you and once it is over you will feel better, Than you can help all and sundry,

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The moral of this tale is if you are feeling people tired or tired of people check in with you. In whatever extreme emotion situation you find yourself in life there will always always be a teaching you just need to look for it. And if you check in with you and fix your stuff you will be in a much better place to serve and enjoy the wonderful people in your life.

Have a restful and happy weekend <3

 

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How to create your positive life? Take action and create your hour of power! :Part one The Miracle morning (3 min read)

Thinking positively creates a positive  life. Taking positive action creates a positive life. Imagine what you can do when you combine the two!

Simply said Positive actions + Positive thoughts   =  A Positive life  

I know put like that it sounds easy and yet I can already hear your resistance from here. Changing our thought patterns takes effort however it is easy to slot into our lives. It takes conscious thought however we can work positive thought into our schedule without too much hassle. (And for advice on this check out how to create new beliefs or how to communicate positively or even take the laughter challenge!) However taking positive action means making changes to our everyday and boy do we all like to resist that stretching of our comfort zone. The challenge is that without the positive action our thoughts remain inside us. As effective as the power of positive thought is , we need to do things in the physical as well as the mental arenas of our lives to really make lasting, effective and magnificent change.

It’s basically our choice. We can take action to create the lives we want. AND it doesn’t need to be as difficult as we imagine to do that.  Actually it’s really easy once we make the choice to act. And the bonus is that once we start it’s easier to do more and more that is good for us and sooner or later you find that you are actually living the life you dreamed of.

Yes! I can hear you now raring to go and wanting the easy guide. Well in my experience it’s all to do with your hour of power.  Now in actual fact your hour doesn’t need to be an hour 30 – 60 mins of your day dedicated to positive actions can initiate the transition from you life now to the life you want. The idea is as I said, simple. You create everyday 30 – 60 mins that is for you. You time. Now I don’t mean the sitting on the sofa when the kids are in bed drinking wine kind of you time. I mean the energising, life boosting opportunity for personal growth kind of you time.

Imagine 30 mins – 60 mins of a day where you can just concentrate on you. Your dreams. Your life. Yourself. It’s an amazingly powerful thought and an amazingly powerful reality.

There is one catch. Although not a big one. In order to give yourself this experience you will have to change your habits. Preferably your morning habits. The first hour of your day is actually the most important. It is where you set up the mood, motivation and outlook for your entire day. Imagine for a moment that instead of bashing the alarm clock and roll over, you growl at the alarm slightly, stretch out, turn off the alarm, make a cup of whatever you fancy in the morning, wash your face, brush your teeth and then slightly less sleepily wander into whatever space that is yours and private for 30 to 60 mins and at the end of that time you are buzzing with energy, understanding and motivation. Raring to go for the day. And most of all happy. Now how is that for an idea?

This actually how I start my day. And it’s amazing. I love it. No matter how tired I am when I start  my hour of power I am addicted and hate not to do it. Why?  Because I feel so great after it! It sets me up for the day. It is my me time, my inspiration. And no I am not a natural morning person. Heck no! I was always a night owl.  Until the day I put working with the law of attraction on my vision board. That week I got introduced to my favourite of personal development tools The (life changing) Miracle Morning created by Hal Elrod.  In a nutshell the Miracle Morning concept is simple. Each day you wake up and spend the first 30 – 60 minutes doing activities to stimulate you personal growth, motivate you for the day and in essence gradually transform your life. Hal Elrod has combined 6 of the most powerful and successful morning activities carried out by the world’s most successful people into an easily accessible and flexible system. So every morning I do 5 to 10 minutes of my six “S.A.V.E.R.S” activities. These are silence (meditation), affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing (journalling). (Actually my miracle morning is in the order E.R.S.S.V.A it just doesn’t look as good when written down!)

When I started The Miracle Morning I did five minutes of each and the results I got were amazing. Then my life changed a little and I found that I was unable to do it everyday. And you know what I missed the buzz that my Miracle Morning gave me. I missed it so much that I chose to get up an hour earlier every possible day to just to make my miracle morning time. I get up at 5 am Monday to Friday. I mean I used to go to bed at that time now I am up and doing yoga! Well except on weekends. On weekends I wake up and then I do it no matter the time. My house knows to leave me to it and gives me the space. I think mostly because they prefer the miracle morning me to the pre-me, who bit off anyone’s head if they irritated me before one coffee and two cigarettes. (I now have neither in the mornings.) The transformation is astounding. I have shocked myself. (And my Mum who can not get over the fact her daughter now gets up so early!) And it is infectious and additive. Even Mr T gets up and does his hour of power every day (although his involves all exercise- each to their own). The more I start my day in this positive way, the more motivated I am to keep my day going in the same direction And bit by bit my life is transforming.  Now If course The Miracle Morning isn’t the only reason my life is getting better, I am taking positive action wherever I can and whenever I am inspired. However my miracle morning really is my hour of power enabling me to do and achieve things I never thought I would.

It works for me. And thousands of others. I won’t explain it here because there are so mnay places online you can find out about it. Check it out http://www.miraclemorning.com/   or Hal Elrod on YouTube, or alternatively you can buy the book which I truly recommend. However if you don’t decided to try the Miracle Morning system do choose an hour of power for you everyday. I have a friend whose hour of power is on the train journey to work. Another who fits it in flexibly every day at different times depending on her schedule.  The point is simply that if you choose to create time in the day for you, where you dedicate time to your own personal growth and focusing on your dreams, you will be taking the healthiest positive action you can take. By making that commitment to yourself you are committing to creating your dreams and taking control of your life. You become a person consciously and mindfully living. And someone who is actively doing good this  cannot help but create a positive life for themselves. Why? Because when you consciously aim for positive action, your natural state becomes positive. And a person whose natural state is positive is living a positive life.

The math tells the truth 🙂

Positive action + positive thought = positive life

So choose you today. Choose your hour of power. Choose to take action to create a positive, energising and productive happy life. You have everything you need within the power of your own choice…

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Turn your Monday frown upside down in three inspiring and hilarious steps!

Mondays uggh! Some days you just get out of  the wrong side of the bed. Today I had it on overload. At 3 minutes to 8am I was done. Even after spending time going through my gratitude list and my positive affirmations 3 secs later something new just annoyed me. Nothing seemed to be shifting my irritable negative cloud. I could have quite happily returned to my bed and slept until the weekend – you know the scenario.

So I started to think about what could make me feel better, what can you do to turn around a monday frown upside down when all the odds are against you? The universe kindly responded by showing me and now as I am sitting here writing to you I am buzzing with energy and dancing along to Don’t Worry Be Happy! (Surreal to think if I had heard this song this morning it would have bugged the heck out of me). So what’s the secret? It’s really simple and easy to follow. If you want to turn you Monday frown upside down and enjoy the rest of your day in spite of getting out of bed on the wrong side follow my three simple steps kindly taught to me today by the universe.

Open up and breath

I know this is the tough part. The last thing you want to do when you are annoyed or irritated is to stop being annoyed (humans, such weird creatures we are). However  if you want to feel happier you need to take charge internally and open yourself up to the possibility of shifting your mood.  And one of the easiest ways of doing this is power  meditating.

I have tried a lot of meditation and always struggled with it however power meditating is the most simple  and shortest meditation/affirmation technique of them all! The concept is simple. Just as a quick power nap freshens the body a quick power  meditation freshens the soul – I found this technique here at Mind Body Green (however the name is from yours truly).

Basically you focus on your breath and breath deeply into your belly allowing it to relax and become soft. Then begin internally repeating to yourself, “Breathing In, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.” And you keep doing this until you find you begin to smile. The corners of your mouth start twitching and as you smile you feel better and open for an improvement in your day.

Be creative and release your inner creative child

Children get the better deal. Hours of playtime, oh don’t you miss it. Especially the hours we all spent with paint brush or crayon in hand creating scribbly, wibbly stick men masterpieces to be lovingly displayed on Mum’s fridge. On a crappy day allowing yourself the freedom to doodle, draw and paint the way you did all those years ago (not so long ago for some of you) is absolutely the best medicine.

Why? Because creativity clears the mind. It craves focus which prevents you from being caught up with negative or stressful thoughts. The other equally important part of creating in childhood is that it involves interacting with colour. Colour is all around us but unless we have been lucky enough to follow a creative career path we often stop interacting with it in our adulthood. Colour impacts our moods, our feelings and our behaviours. Best of all our interpretation of colour is completely utterly personal, No-one in the world experiences and reacts to the different colours in exactly the way you do. Stands to reason that interacting with colour liberates us unconsciously.

Step two is simple – Be Creative. However I don’t want you just to be creative, to get rid of your bad mood. I want you to be as creative in a childish way. Small children don’t care. If they make a picture they love it, because they enjoyed making it. They have freedom to express their creative potential because they don’t compare themselves and their abilities with everyone else’s. Something we have all forgotten how to do.

Now I don’t mean you should regress completely and allow your inner child to take over your workplace. However an hour of childish artistic freedom works wonders on any black cloud day. I was lucky today. I got a few hours to paint and stick and glue, in an art class (the wonderful perks of studying human development means you get these kind of opportunities). However if you are at work I get that it can be challenging to suddenly get the crayons out and begin to make stick figure drawings. Luckily the recent fad for mindfulness colouring books and zentangling has made grownup colouring much more socially acceptable, plus it is a great way to be creative without having to initiate the process of the drawing. The first chance you get today grab some paper, draw or make some time to colour. Don’t get caught up in being artistically perfect, get caught up in the experience of playing with colour and the freedom of creating. No matter what it is you make, your inner child will think it is wonderful and if you end up smiling who the heck cares what you drew! (And if you really don’t want to be artistic on paper, another easy and fun way to be creative and interact with colour is Lego. I am serious. And the bonus is that there is always some small child in the world very happy to take it off your hands when you have done the making).

Be stupid and play

Do something stupid. I don’t mean stupid in the buy 100 lotto tickets way, I mean stupid the way you did when you were small. Play. We as adults are incredibly self conscious and caught up in what other people think of us. Getting out of our stuff and doing ‘something daft’ (as my mum would say) is not just a liberating experience for us but for everyone around us. The important factor here is to make sure whatever you do is physical and has absolutely in no way at all a connection to your adult life (which means going to the gym does not count).

Start a paper aeroplane competition, have a pillow fight, jump in puddles.If you dare

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Miranda daring to be daft !

go bigger and follow the wonderful example of Miranda Hart in the BBC series “Miranda” who makes the enjoyment of living alone an art form. The picture says it all…

 

If at all possible do something daft with friends, it makes you laugh more. Today in my second class of the day I was to be found wearing a giant rabbit costume whilst we reenacted a nursery rhyme dance as part of a demonstration of a cognitive and creative development activity for children (again the opportunities of studying human development).

The unexpected byproduct of this experience was the  liberating effect on the adults taking part. Suddenly dressed as fairy tale characters and dancing around playing a game each of the adults came out of their shells. It was a sight to behold.

However as you may have hidden your Buzz Lightyear costume in the darkest recesses of your loft I recommend instead of watching the news tonight getting out the Twister. Nothing lifts the mood like entangling yourself in an impossible position and howling with laughter.

And if nothing else there is always the option of dancing around like a ninny in the kitchen to your favourite music.

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You may notice that the universe today provided me with an experience of childhood which I am recommending to you. To be honest returning to a child’s world perspective, getting out of yourself, ignoring your adult mental constrictions and having a few hours playing and creating, reminds you why life is worth living and it makes sense. Try it (even if you think it sounds bonkers) you will see what I mean.

Combine the acts of breathing, creating and being stupid and I guarantee you that your Monday (or any day of the week) frown cannot possibly remain.

Life is our own adventure so choose to make yours a fun one!

 Have a fantastic week , got to dash I’m off to have a disco in my kitchen (Cue Abba “I am the dancing queen …..”)  

Happy Monday 🙂

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#lifelessons101- 4 things to help you back on the personal development horse (3 min read)

When you start out on a new personal development regime everything goes buzzing along in a cloud of motivation and positivity, that is until you fall off the horse. Motivation levels go down and it often seems easier to give up and fall back into the old familiar habits we know and feel comfortable in. The irony is that when we are at this point it is one of the most important stages of our personal development journey. If of course we can just keep a view on the bigger picture, block out our negative inner dialogue and keep going the breakthrough comes and it’s worth it. Hurrah!

I know. It’s not that easy right.

In fact not easy at all.  And I know this all too well. This week in particular for me has been a tough one. After a short pear shaped period in my life I have been attempting to get back into my personal development routines again and pick up the good habits I had before. Should have been straightforward. I did it before I can do it again! Right ? Well yes and then no.

The challenge has been it’s just not that easy to get the same focus and drive I had before.  

Those of you that also follow the path of development know this too well. Falling off the personal development horse happens to us all. Getting on the horse again is not easy and staying on it after a fall can at first seem impossible. Added to which if you have an internal dialogue like mine (who loves to put me down) it can be fodder to add to your I can’t stick at anything, I am useless, worms, worms, worms personal narrative.  

It’s a vicious cycle and can if allowed hold you down forever, if you want it too. I don’t want it too. So I turned to my second favourite library of reference, me (the first is always a combination of Google and Mr T); and sifted through my files of life experience to figure out how to boost my motivation and let me get to the place of my next break through.

Guess what I found??  It is so much  easier than I thought  to get back on the personal development horse and ride into the future without superhuman strength. It was just a question of changing my mental approach to the process and applying these for A star guidelines. 

The 4 A star guidelines to getting back on the personal development horse:

Acceptance:

Sounds like a cliche right? However it’s not. If you don’t accept things as they are you cannot move forward because you are coming from a place of untruth. In accepting you also forgive.

You have to accept three things:

1: You fell off the horse (probably for a good reason if you analyse  it and look for the teachings) people do. But you are not going to be able to move forward if you don’t forgive yourself for that.

2: You are not unflawed. Every human is a perfect imperfection including you. If you look at two of my personal heros personal development heros Lousie Hay and Hal Elrod both of their stories tell very honestly about a human experience of growth. Both of them are perfect imperfections who are constantly working on improving their imperfections in the best way they can. None of us can do any more than our best. Have a look at your heros and role models I bet you will see that they too are just as frail and as human as you. If personal development gurus can be flawed so can you so stop beating yourself up for it.

3: It is gonna be tougher second time round because you will unconsciously compare your results to the first time you tried a routine change. This comparison is just your minds way of fighting the  changes you are trying to make because it likes to be in its comfort zone, it’s probably why you fell off in the first place.

Attention:

“Constant vigilance!” as  Professor Moody used to say (from HArry Potter. Yes I am a potter fan and a personal development junkie!). What do I mean by that. I mean pay attention to what is going on with you. If you get excuses popping up then notice them and try and work out why your mind is fighting against you. For example if you keep pushing your affirmation ritual away because you are too tired or too busy, or hit the snooze button instead of jumping out of bed to do you Miracle Morning routine then sit down with pen and paper to ask yourself why?  Why aren’t you doing it? Then find a way to work through your block instead of succumbing to it. Google is a wonderful tool here, ask and you will find inspiration if you can’t figure out how to work with your block alone. (99% of the time it is as said above your internal unconscious self rebelling because you are outside its comfort zone. In time you will feel better with the changes, you just need to keep going until your new habits become comfortable.) 

Acknowledgement:

As I always say one of the most important things you can do to motivate yourself is to acknowledge your achievements. I cannot stress how important this is. We often when ‘working’ with ourselves forget to notice and be proud of our progress and efforts. Of course the reward of personal development are the bonuses of our positive personal growth. But if you don’t take the time out to notice and acknowledge the journey you are taking and  your accomplishments, then you can get demotivated again. Make an achievement list where you list what you proud of yourself for having achieved once a week. Or if you prefer a gratitude list that focuses  on gratitude to yourself for what you have been doing to make life better for you.

Allies:

Allies is just another word for friends or people, or even strangers in the form of authors or online communities, who you can call on for help in your commitment to getting back on the personal development horse. It can be hard as hell to make life changes alone so call in your team. Right now I am finding myself surrounded by people who like to make excuses for themselves rather than take responsibility (unfortunately moving into a completely new area can have this effect). At first I found this draining and allowed it to affect me but once I realized it I have now started to call into my life people who also are dedicated to growing positively in both my friendship circle and through reading and watching personal development videos that inspire me.  It helps me keep focused and reminds me I am not alone. Writing this blog and having you guys read it helps amazingly too because when you read and like my articles I know that we are all out there working on ourselves to become better people in our way and that is immensely inspiring. For which I am truly grateful to you all lovely readers. So reach out to the universe and create the allies you need to keep you on that horse and keep going. We can achieve far more together than we ever can alone.

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Remember wherever you are in your personal development process that the times that seem the hardest are always before the enlightening positive breakthroughs. So keep on going. So what if you fell off the horse, you got back on it and you are moving forward. And by accepting that, paying attention to yourself, acknowledging your progress and calling in your allies you will keep on riding that horse  onwards growing more and more grounded, beautiful, abundant and successful every single day.

I believe in you  all <3dream-it-do-it

What to do when life goes pear shaped -an 8 step guide from my life (4 min read)

Hello people it’s good to be back!

Some of you who follow the Re:Root blog may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet for a few weeks around here, almost as if I went AWOL. And why? Well the best laid plans can go wrong.  Sometimes life just kicks in and everything goes pear shaped.  (For those of you either not from the UK or from my particular generation that means that the plan went wrong.)

And oh boy it went wrong… or did it? The answer to that is both yes and no.

On the one hand I did not plan for problems with my medication, college, telephone, money and deadlines to hit me all at once subsequently affecting my sleep so that I was functioning on totally drained resources and starting to spiral into a depressive place. However on the other hand the teachings I received during this time, the strength I had to manifest to stop myself sliding down a slippery slope of depression and the cathartic process of allowing my emotions to release has meant that I have come out on the other side a little stronger, a lot wiser and incredibly grateful for the abundance and experience of my life.

In a previous post 5 STEPS TO SURVIVING THE HARDEST OF DAYS… I talked about how to survive when you have a  crappy day. Some of the guidance here is applicable when life goes pear shaped. But usually when life goes pear shaped it is more than just a crappy day or a couple of days.  It’s something unexpected happening which interrupts the flow of your life in a negative way. It can be a week or two and if not taken control of its longer and longer, a pear shaped situation can be seemingly endless. And that my friends is dangerous for you. 

When life goes pear shaped we can choose to allow the situation to drown us or to take it head on and get your life back on track in a richer, wiser way.  

Getting your life back on track when it goes pear shaped is possible. How? With a little connecting, taking control and reconnecting it is possible to deal with the pear shaped moments in life healthily and constructively.

When and if the excrement hits the fan in your life try these 8 steps to bring it back online again.

Be in the moment consciously

When life goes pear shaped the first thing it triggers is our flight or fight response followed by an emotional reaction. A lot of life guidance out there veers us away from feeling and towards taking charge of the situation and yes while that is important it is equally important to allow our bodies natural mechanisms to function. Basically I mean at the start of whatever is happening let your feelings do the running for a few days (preferably no more than three). Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, it’s healthy. Be sad, be angry. I don’t mean let the feeling take over you but just be mindful that you need to feel what you are feeling, Notice each feeling consciously and work it through. Journal, talk, draw, sleep, workout do what you need to do to get to the stage where that feeling is not the be all and everything.

Realise life’s not gone wrong, it’s gone pear shaped.

The words we use shape our view of our reality internally and externally. If you ask yourself why is this is going wrong you are using very negative language. Something that is ‘wrong’ is perceived as hard to fix if not irreparable.  By using the word wrong you are putting yourself in a victim role, a passive role, this has happened to you. In order to bring life on track you need to step into an active role and to that you need to consciously change your language use to change your thinking and change your situation.

Try and think of it this way: In the Urban Dictionary the expression  “pear shaped” is   

“based on the visualisation of a plan being like a perfect circle. When something goes wrong, the plan is distorted and becomes pear-shaped.”

So life has not gone wrong it has just been distorted. This mental shift may not feel like much however it is an ENORMOUS energetic shift in your thinking when you need it the most. A distortion can be adjusted or reversed.

So when you get to the stage where that feeling is not the be all and everything, turn your thinking around by recognizing that life has just gone pear shaped, it is currently distorted. And if it’s only distorted you can change it. But how…

Look for the teaching

Why did this happen to me? (Who has never thought that in their life.) This is exactly the question you need to ask yourself next. (And I don’t mean in the “why did this happen to me it’s not fair!” sense). You need to look for the teaching.

Life is constantly throwing us clues…and we ignore them, or can’t hear them or notice them but don’t do anything about them. When life goes pear shaped it can often be because a particular message has been trying to get through to us for some time and it has had to take it to Defcon 5 to get us to notice. (For example I really do believe that one of the reasons type 1 diabetes manifested in my life was to teach me to take care of myself something I was appalling at).  No matter what the situation in life there is always a teaching. And it is these teachings that help us to grow.

Integration of the teaching

What are you going to do about the teaching or the message life is sending at you? For me I recently unearthed a lot of repressed Daddy issues I thought in place and dealt with that unconsciously still affect my self confidence, even more so now Mr T and I live together .  I could ignore this information but that would result in another even bigger distortion in the future. So I jumped onto to google university and am currently doing 5 mins self love affirmations daily while I slowly work through this old wound.

So once you have found the teaching find your self a way to incorporate this into your life. It  may be a small thing or a big thing you need to do, the important thing is DO SOMETHING with your teaching and DO IT NOW!

Motivation

If you have been following the steps you have your understanding and a plan of how to incorporate this into your life. Sometimes this is motivation enough to reform your pear shaped life into a perfect circle again. Sometimes it’s harder.

If like me you have to fight old habits like falling into the depression cycle then it’s incredibly hard to “pull yourself together and take charge of your life”. However no one will do it for you. Only you can run your life. Accepting this will help with the motivation. Make sure your success criteria can be easily fulfilled. In a nutshell don’t set yourself up for a fail by aiming to high and pushing to hard to start with.  Basically take it slowly and succeed with baby steps. Success is the best motivator in the world so give yourself lots of easy things you can accomplish and slowly work through them (see below).

Be kind

Be kind to yourself and don’t overestimate your success  criteria. What I mean by this is you need to start small. To get your  life back on track you need success experiences.  However you have also been through a process so start with the little things. Washing up is a great mini success experience, as is cleaning. It also has the added bonus that as you clean up your outside world you also clean up your inside world. Once you are managing the small goals work up until you feel like you are back on track then just keep on going! Remember also to not get into the guilt cycle if you don’t make a goal for a few days or even a week. It will happen when you decide you have the right energy to make it happen.

Being Proud

It not easy to get back on that horse after that fall. However you are trying and you need to be proud of yourself for that. And I mean actively proud. You need to be your own cheerleading squad and celebrate your victories no matter how small. The small battles are often the ones that need the most celebrating. You got out of bed Yey! You opted for a healthy breakfast at the table instead of cereal from the packet under the duvet Yes! You went back to work today! It’s time for a celebratory dinner. I know it might feel false at first however there isn’t always someone to clap you on the shoulder to say well done so we have to do that ourselves. A great habit to get into at the end of the day is to write an achievement list. Basically a list of all the things you are proud of yourself for today. And make sure that you start each sentence with I am proud of myself because…………….. AND you include the little things you otherwise tend to disregard.

Call in Support if it gets too tough

No matter what we do need other people. Even Superman and Batman needed their support in the form of Alfred and Louis. So even though this article primarily focuses on what you can do for yourself, you can also ask for help. Whether it’s off loading on a friend or creating an accountability person or finding a therapist, call in the support you need. The important thing here is to make sure that this is the support you NEED. It might be great to cry on a friend initially but after a week is this the best help you need? Is this going to help you consciously turn things around?  Identify the help you need and ask for it.

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By consciously connecting with ourselves and feeling, taking control our negative thoughts and reconnecting with our lives in an altered state of understanding and motivation we can reform the distorted circle and get our lives on track again when things go pear shaped.

 

I look forward to hearing about your success stories down in the comments below. Right now I off to give myself a little self love in the form of yoga followed by a glass of water and then probably a glass of  red wine to end the day. 

Have a lovely week <3

#enjoythejourney

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#Lifelessons101 – What to do after a storm hits your life (2 min read)

Storms come quickly, bringing chaos. Life is swimming along at a normal and even comfortable tempo then suddenly from nowhere BAM! Something happens that in a minor or major way uproots your life. And the weatherman didn’t even tell you it was coming.

Yesterday we had a storm hit us. Our landlord dropped by to tell us there would be a  4000kr increase in our rent starting in February. My reaction process started with f……………….k!!!

Amazingly I then went through a series of reactions that by the end of the day I was feeling happy about this challenge and determined to overcome it.

First reaction : survival mode. I looked at the budget, can we pay?(We could but only just from now on until we generate more income we are living the way I hate counting every kroner and have no opportunity to save).

Second reaction: shock. I cried. A lot. I talked my frustration out (in a snotty and garbled way). Mr T was wonderful and comforting he tried to get me to say it would be ok. But right at that moment  I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed so I cried until I could cry no more. It was cathartic and released me from the drama of my fears.

Third reaction: Success experience. I knew I couldn’t do anything more about the problem right then and there. What I needed was a success experience. So I did the washing. Something small but easy to do (well it would have been if the cat hadn’t removed the waterpipe and therefore also flooded the bathroom! However I cleaned it all up and solved that problem so ha ha success!) For the rest of the day I gave myself small manageable tasks that made me feel successful.

Fourth reaction: Finding the positive. As I spent the day making small achievements, I realised that this financial pressure was actually a blessing in disguise. Life has been very comfortable of late, too comfortable. Not that I am saying being comfortable is wrong. My experience has simply been that comfortable without a little challenge makes boredom.As soon as this was realised my energy shifted. Now I could see we have been given an opportunity.

Fifth reaction: Energised and determined. Having proved to myself I can succeed all day, and after brainstorming, I could now see that the things I had been thinking of doing to increase our income and not yet done I now have an immediate motivation for. A kick up the butt to get my plans and dreams realised. Suddenly I am raring to go!

So who knew that a rent increase would actually be an inspiration and motivational factor!

Of course it might not have been. If I had chosen to sit down and stay at reaction number one, then this storm could have been crippling both mentally and financially.  Storms are crap. We all know that. We have all been there. But the important thing about the storms that hit us is not how we are hit, but how we survive afterwards. Storms bring change and peace after them if we choose to respond in a healthy way. Next time a storm  hits, slowly and in your own time try these five steps and you will turn your problems into opportunities.

Survival mode: Batten down the hatches and do the minimal things you need to do to survive.

Shock: Allow your emotions to come out. Do Not repress them. Allow yourself to get to the emotional state where you feel like a wrung out dishcloth. It empties the sadness, frustration and anger out of you.

Success experiences: Do some very simple things that you can succeed at. Wash the dishes. Do the washing. Feed the dog. Nothing you have to think about, just something you can do. MAke yourself do this. It’s actually the most important step as it transitions you to a positive space.

Find the positive: How? Look for it. There is always a positive side. A lover leaving does allow you to do things you didn’t do because of the relationship. A broken washing machine brings with it the opportunity to really deep clean the bathroom which you have been putting off for months. What opportunity did this storm bring?

Energised and determined. Find ways to overcome the challenge life has thrown at you. You don’t have to start then and there (unless you want to). Look at the opportunity this challenge has brought you and work towards to achieving whatever it is that opportunity brings you.

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This process took me one day unfortunately (or fortunately) I have had a lot of practise. It might take you longer. You may need two days in shock and a week of small successful experiences before you can find the opportunities. You will find them when you look. The way you respond to a storm creates the next step in your journey, only you can decide how that journey will be. 

 

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#lifelessons101 – Escape the social media vampire with THE SOCIAL MEDIA FREE CHALLENGE!! (2 min read)

Recently I have been trying to take more time out for myself. I have identified stress factors, planned rest days in between social activities and re-started a hobby that gives me so much energy. However I am still tired. Of course a lot of that is to do with winter , low sunlight (here in DK there is not much at all) as well as the busy pre christmas break schedule we all have. But there is something else. Something else that really drains me and until today I couldn’t work out what it was.

At the moment I am studying (amongst other things) digital culture. Today we were talking about the positive and negative effects of social media. We learnt that here in Denmark 7% of 15 year old girls don’t spend time physically socialising with their friends after school, they do it over social media. In fact 80% people actually interact with social media before getting out of bed or brushing their teeth. To me the message is clear.

We are all being sucked in by the vampire of social media -fact.

And the worst part is we are all addicted to it. As I look around the train I am currently travelling on 15 of the 19 passengers in my carriage are on social media. (They are also giving me very strange looks as I have been standing up and counting them all!)

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike social media. I live in another country to my family, I have friends world wide. Social media helps me to keep in touch with the people I love over a distance. I even run my business and my study groups over social media. It opens a world of possibilities and keeps us all connected. However the addiction of staring into a screen, scrolling through pictures, comments and videos at every possible oppertunity , is physically and mentally draining. These days we receive the same amount of information in a year as a person 200 years ago received in their entire lives!! That’s insane and is sending us all into a mental overdrive. At the same time constant use of a computer, tablet or smart phone is physically draining on our eyes. If you think about it it’s a bit of a  mystery as to why we are addicted to something that drains us both physically and mentally.

So what to do? Well it’s simple.  We need to give ourselves a break and start to use our social media accounts in a healthy way.  Here is the 3 step plan to escaping the social media vampire and giving yourself some much needed rest and energy. I challenge you to try it with me this weekend and in the coming week to see how much of a difference it makes in your life.

Step 1 – Take a weekend break

Take a weekend off. Let your friends, colleagues and family know that if they want to contact you over a weekend then it’s sms and phone call only. Put the phone on charge and do something else. Give yourself a break and connect with people in person instead of over media.

Step 2 – Plan when to use your social media

For the first day just note down how many times you check your social media accounts in a day. Then have a look at your day and see when you can choose two periods of time that you can use on your social media account. (Three if you have a  work or business through social media.)

Step 3 – No, no and NO!

When you feel the itch to check into your social media outside of your planned times don’t. Tell yourself no and do something else. Get some support, tell people what you are up to and why. There are some great free programs on the tinterwebs that allow you to block certain web pages for a period of time and this really, really helps.

So I invite you to join me this week in the Social media free challenge. As soon as this article is up I will be telling all friends and family not to contact me on fb until sunday. And then I will be enjoying a weekend of hygge with Mr T with films and Yule markets.

Let me know how your challenge goes – I’ll check in with you on Sunday night

Have an awesome social media free weekend 🙂

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